Researchers have patented a new strain of seaweed that they say tastes like bacon and might help feed a growing, hungry world.
The red seaweed is called dulse, and it's been eaten by people for millennia. The team at Oregon State University has bred a strain that they can farm reliably and they say it's not only heavy on the protein -- 16 percent by weight -- but packed with minerals and vitamins such as vitamin A and C.
"When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it's a pretty strong bacon flavor," said OSU fisheries professor Chris Langdon.
Dulse is valued for a flavor called "umami", a Japanese word that describes the so-called fifth flavor found in mushrooms, meat, cheese and, yes, bacon.
Langdon's team was originally growing the dulse to feed abalone, a sea snail prized for its meat and its colorful mother-of-pearl shell, "The original goal was to create a super-food for abalone, because high-quality abalone is treasured, especially in Asia," Langdon said in a statement.
"We were able to grow dulse-fed abalone at rates that exceeded those previously reported in the literature."
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